Home > Networking, Forefront TMG 2010, Threat Management Gateway, Public Cloud > Extending the Life of Forefront TMG 2010 with Zscaler Cloud Based Security

Extending the Life of Forefront TMG 2010 with Zscaler Cloud Based Security

September 16, 2013

Forefront TMG End of Life

With the end of life announcement for Microsoft Forefront TMG 2010, one of the most common questions I am asked is “What should I replace my Forefront TMG firewall with?” Many are surprised when I reply “Why do you want to replace it?” Simply because Forefront TMG will not be developed in the future does not mean there’s an immediate need to replace it. Considering the fact that Forefront TMG mainstream support extends until April 2015, and extended support lasts until April 2020, often the decision to replace TMG is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to marketing pressure by vendors of competing solutions.

Do You Need to Replace Forefront TMG 2010 Now?

If you have deployed Forefront TMG 2010 as a firewall, basic forward or reverse web proxy, or remote access or site-to-site VPN, there is no need to replace Forefront TMG 2010 right now. All of the features used in these deployment scenarios will continue to function in to perpetuity. You have until April 2020 to find a replacement for Forefront TMG, which should give you plenty of time to consider alternative solutions. However, if you have deployed Forefront TMG as a secure web gateway, the situation is a little different. Although support for the product extends until April 2020, the Web Protection Service (WPS) subscription will only function until the end of 2015. This means that URL filtering reputation database updates, antimalware signatures, and Network Inspection System (NIS) signatures will no longer be updated past this time. Not to worry, there are some excellent cloud-based security solutions that can be integrated with Forefront TMG 2010 to effectively extend the life of TMG for the foreseeable future.

Extending the Life of Forefront TMG 2010 with Zscaler

Recently I had the opportunity to evaluate the Zscaler Cloud-based security solution. Zscaler provides security-as-a-service and integrates seamlessly with Forefront TMG to provide essential web security protection with URL filtering, dynamic web content control, virus and malicious software scanning, HTTPS inspection capabilities, and more. The Zscaler security solution provides significantly more protection than the native Forefront TMG technologies offer. There are also tremendous economies of scale to be gained by using this cloud-based security solution, as Zscaler has more than 4000 enterprise customers in 180 countries, servicing more than 10 million users globally. The threat intelligence gained from having such a broad view of Internet activity worldwide enables Zscaler to quickly identify emerging threats on a global basis and extend protection to all of its customers quickly and effectively.

Zscaler Integration with Forefront TMG 2010

Integrating an on-premises Forefront TMG firewall with the Zscaler cloud is accomplished without having to install a plug-in on the TMG firewall. On-premises web traffic is delivered to the Zscaler cloud service by Forefront TMG through the use of web proxy chaining rules. After you’ve signed up for the service, simply configure a web proxy chaining rule to forward web proxy requests from Forefront TMG to the Zscaler cloud proxy gateways.

Forefront TMG 2010 Zscaler Web Proxy Chaining Configuration

Forefront TMG 2010 Zscaler Web Proxy Chaining Configuration

Zscaler Protection for Mobile Users

The Zscaler solution has some additional advantages over Forefront TMG’s native web protection mechanisms. With a cloud-based solution, Zscaler’s protection can also be extended transparently to mobile users, keeping them safe regardless of where they are. Zscaler has more than 100 datacenters worldwide, ensuring quick response times and low latency wherever the mobile user happens to be. Integrating individual clients can be done using proxy PAC files to route traffic to Zscaler’s datacenters. Additionally there is an option to install an agent on the client to forward traffic, which has the benefit of preventing the end user from disabling proxy settings to bypass content filtering restrictions.

Forefront TMG 2010 and Zscaler – Better Together

You may be asking yourself “Why not just use Zscaler exclusively? Why do I need TMG at all?” Valid question! Integrating Zscaler with Forefront TMG provides the best of both worlds in terms of security and performance. With Forefront TMG 2010 on premises, you have a Common Criteria-certified enterprise-class firewall to provide the highest level of security for your network. You can leverage strong user and group-based authentication, and you gain the added benefit of local caching for web content. In addition, you can make use of Forefront TMG 2010’s other features like multi-networking to create perimeter or DMZ networks for isolating public-facing services, reverse proxy for on-premises web-based and non-web based applications and services, remote access VPN for managed and non-managed mobile users, and site-to-site VPN to connect remote offices, business partners, or cloud service providers.

Forefront TMG End of Sale? Not Quite!

Although Microsoft is committed to supporting Forefront TMG 2010 for many years to come, they are no longer selling Forefront TMG 2010 licenses or the Web Protection Service (WPS) subscription licenses. If you’ve already deployed Forefront TMG 2010, or have already purchased Forefront TMG processor licenses and the WPS subscription, you have nothing to worry about. If you’re looking to deploy Forefront TMG 2010 today, you can’t purchase licenses for the software from Microsoft. However, you can still obtain Forefront TMG 2010 through a Microsoft OEM partner like Celestix Networks. (Full disclosure: Celestix Networks is my current employer.)

Keep Calm and Carry On

In my estimation, you can safely deploy or keep Forefront TMG 2010 in your environment and still gain a healthy return on your investment for many years to come. If you’re using Forefront TMG for publishing services such as Outlook Web App (OWA) or SharePoint, or you’re leveraging client-based remote access or site-to-site VPN, you have nothing to worry about. If you’re using Forefront TMG as a secure web gateway, you can enhance and extend the solution by using Zscaler’s cloud-based security solution for less than you would have paid for the Microsoft WPS subscription. No need to go out and replace your Forefront TMG 2010 solution for quite a few more years! If you are considering a new deployment, you can still purchase Forefront TMG 2010 from Microsoft OEM partners like Iron Networks. So Keep Calm and Deploy Forefront TMG 2010 today!

Keep Calm and Deploy Forefront TMG 2010!

  1. Kandasamy
    September 27, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Can you help us for slow browsing in Google Chrome with TMG 2010. Microsoft forefont TMG 2010 installed in VM. Running in Cluster and two servers in the array.

    TMG 2010 + Windows Server 2008 + ESXI 4.1

    Interner is working fine in Internet explore and firefox, But Goolgle Chrome is very slow while loading the pages.TMG client is enabled or Proxy is manually set but chrome runs very slow. When I disable proxy and access internet direclty the pages are loading very fast as like internet explore.

    Desktop has windows 7 and TMG Client installed.

    Do we have any special settings in TMG for Chrome application? Any clue on this issue?

    Many Thanks

  2. October 8, 2013 at 7:09 am

    I can’t imagine why you would have slowness with only one specific browser. You’ll probably have to dig deeper and observe the traffic using a protocol analyzer to find some clue as to why this is happening.

  3. Mesbah
    January 13, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Dear Richard, When I create access rules denying access to URL sets for Youtube or facebook for ex, it works fine for http and https on any browser except for google chrome !!! in chrome the denied URL sets are opened with https

  4. January 18, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    That’s certainly unusual. I’d look closely at the network path your traffic is taking when using Chrome. I suspect it might either be going around TMG, or perhaps it is not configured as a web proxy client.

  1. September 9, 2015 at 2:53 am
  2. December 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm
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